I've recently had high heid yins in mental health telling me that pharma funded events promoting new psychiatric drugs are purely "educational" as if they expect me to believe it. Are they serious? I've never believed in mental illness and never liked being forcibly treated in psychiatric settings. Why would I swallow that nonsense?
If an event funded by a pharmaceutical company like Janssen (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, revenue of over $71 billion in 2013) is promoting a new drug like Xeplion (depot injection) then it is all about sales and profit, nothing to do with education. Let's be quite clear about it.
Who's educating who? The drug company promoting their latest psychiatric drug (eg Xeplion) is "educating" psychiatry and their cohorts into swallowing their silver tongued rhetoric, that this new magic bullet will do the trick. The performers at the event are part of the pharma team despite their protestations of independence.
I've heard this "independence" mantra before, in relation to mental health advocacy. Service providers getting away with winning tendering contracts for "independent" advocacy and managing statutory funded projects. Taking away the work from historical, grassroots, local groups. Colluding with the funders. Silencing the critical voices.
Psychiatric drug prescribers, mental health voluntary sector organisations, clinical psychologists and any other mental health professionals should remain separate from big pharma. It's obvious. Their patients, clients and service users are in the habit of being coerced, pressured and persuaded to take psychiatric drugs.
Depot injections are the means by which the "non-compliant" are controlled and made to conform, despite their objections. The side effects of these drugs and the long term chronicity are unpleasant and even deadly. Ruling lives. Shortening lives.
I say to anyone in Scotland's mental health world who wants to partner big pharma in promoting their latest drug that they should taste it and see. Take the pill or the jag in the bum, and see what it feels like. Then you will have earned the right to be at big pharma promotional events, masquerading as "educational".
Go on. I dare you.